Can you judge a book by its cover? If so, I don’t know how I feel about being on the jacket of my book. My first reaction when my publisher sent me the cover concept for Gap Year Girl asking for my feedback on “the direction,” was wow (!), I’m on the cover. You put me on the cover? Really? Not sure that’s something I’m comfortable with. At all.
To get the creative process rolling, I’d sent She Writes Press several book covers I liked along with a couple dozen of our own photos, never dreaming they’d choose the one that featured me so prominently. We’d taken gorgeous shots of castles, colorful doorways and narrow, cobblestoned streets, but they wanted me. I couldn’t even show my husband, Joe, the image for a couple days, putting it facedown on my nightstand telling myself each night that I’d deal with it “tomorrow.”
But the more I looked, peeking at the image, lifting just its corners, the more it grew on me. I loved the colors, I loved the type and I loved the framing. Maybe it’s not such a bad cover after all, I thought, maybe it’s something I can live with. And actually, maybe it’s something I actually like.
A book’s jacket should give visual form to the writing inside. It should enhance the reading experience and reflect the tone of the book. Is that what this jacket does? Does it create the mood I’m looking for? Will it appeal to potential readers of my book? If I’m on the cover and my audience doesn’t like it, does that mean they don’t like me? Does that mean that they don’t like my writing?
Joe loved the cover the minute I showed it to him, and was especially proud that he’d taken the shot of me sitting on the Aix-en-Provence fountain. I sent the cover art to my editor, closest friends and former publishing colleagues for feedback and received universal approval. The only suggestions were related to the typeface and its placement and so the designer and I went back and forth a couple times until we were both happy with the result.
And thus, the cover for Gap Year Girl was born. I like it, all those closest to me like it and fingers crossed, my audience will as well.
Marianne C. Bohr
Author of Gap Year Girl: A Baby Boomer Adventure Across 21 Countries